multimedia @ VU
project interactive multimedia
iv / animation
- 31/1/08 -- adapted wrt learning goals
- 23/1/08 (v1) -- (severely) critized because of low profile learning goals
IMM & Inf students, year 1
To design and develop a moderately complex multimedia
application, with both educational and game elements,
as part of a communication strategy for some particular
goal or issue of societal relevance.
More specifically, the course aims to teach:
- elementary web-based multimedia technology
- programming and tools for interactive animation and video
- first principles of information visualisation
- basic media and cummunication theory
- the design of an effective communication plan
- the business and societal context of media deployment
Each year a special theme will be selected around which
the interactive multimedia application will be built,
e.g. the climate issue or an interactive museum.
The course will cover one month of intensive full time work,
of which the first two weeks will be devoted to learning
elementary multimedia techniques,
including interactive video, flex and actionscript,
and the following two weeks to develop the application,
formulate a business/communication plan,
and set out a strategy for positioning a viral game or video.
During the course there will be lectures dealing with
media and communication theory, semiotics, as well as critical
theory concerning the creative industry.
Apart from theoretical lectures, there will be regular workshops and
in which the students present their work and get feedback.
The course will include sessions on the design and game aspects
of interactive multimedia information systems.
The end product will be shown in a public session, with
a jury of among others members the CAMeRA institute.
mode of tuition
large group college, small group workshops, presentation sessions and practicum
Final grading will be determined by:
- (10%) basic assignments flex/actionscript
- (20%) design of the interactive multimedia application
- (20%) the business/communication plan
- (10%) essay on one of the theoretical topics
- (10%) presentation in class
- (30%) delivery and presentation of the application
student assistants, supported by educational assistant
with in-depth knowledge of the platform and technology
Apart from basic HTML, CSS and possibly PHP,
flex (Flex 2 SDK),
in combination with interactive flash video,
as developed for the clima futura game platform.
Students must have succesfully followed web technology,
and have elementary knowledge of programming
Awareness of communication issues, (intensive) use of media technology,
including content development and scripting,
comunnication and game design,
oral and written reports.
A sufficint level of technical expertise required.
Another critical issue is the choice of topics,
which is preferably done with an external partner,
such as the VU Climate Center.
The structure of supervision should be such that creativity
is stimulated, on order to maintain a high level of motivation.
This course does require some level of technical expertise
and practical skills of programming and web development,
as well as (minimal) knowledge of mathematics,
needed for animation and visualisation.
It does allow, however, for students to find creative solutions
to communication and
in applying multimedia, using a variety of techniques.
The course builts on the web technology course,
and may also profit from the course
online information systems.
The inspiration and technical platform for this course stems
from our work in the Clima Futura 
Also our experience in developing a climate portal,
in the multimedia casus 2007/08 serves a an inspiration
and pilot experience for the project interactive multimedia.
structure -- outline
- week 1 -- introduction of platform and design issues 
- week 1 -- concept design of multimedia application(s) 
- week 2 -- essentials of animation and visualisation 
- week 2 -- basic media and communication theory 
- week 3 -- information presentation in flex RIA platform
- week 3 -- student presentations of design and storyboards
- week 4 -- business and societal context of the creative industry 
- week 4 -- delivery and presentation of final application(s)
preparation efforts -- required
Development of manual interactive video,
tutorial animation and visualisation
Construction of basic assignments animation
Course website, with schedule and additional information.
Selection of a theme.
resource(s) -- in development
 Eliëns A., van de Watering M., Huurdeman H., Bhikharie S.V., Lemmers H., Vellinga P. , Clima Futura @ VU -- communicating (unconvenient) science, In Proc. GAME-ON 07, Nov 20-22, University of Bologna, Marco Roccetti (ed.), pp. 125-129, EUROSIS-ETI Publication, ISBN 9789077381373
Kress G. and van Leeuwen T. (1996),
Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design, Routledge
Geert Lovink and Ned Rossiter (eds), MyCreativity Reader,
A Critique of Creative Industries, Institute of Network Cultures,
 A. Eliëns, topical media & game development -- www.cs.vu.nl/~eliens/media